Yes, it's time for another "gratuitous" Michael Phelps photo (but are they ever gratuitous?) - because I've got a new round of Hubbies to distribute, this time to the best productions of the spring 2009 season. (For those who haven't heard, the "Hubbies" are virtual awards in the shape of my favorite Olympic swimmer holding up something inspiring.)
But enough about me and Michael. Looking back, this season seems a strange one - for the first time, almost all the really interesting work came from the smaller companies, although the large and mid-size theatres did manage to squeak in to the runners-up. I should ponder that trend further, but that post can wait till another day. So without further ado, the 2009 Spring Hubbies for the best local theatrical productions go to:
A Moon for the Misbegotten, by Eugene O'Neill, directed by Edward Morgan - Merrimack Repertory Theatre. The kind of production our in-town theatres just don't seem able to do anymore: a classic, challenging text; an insightful director; and a deeply affecting cast (above). That's all, but it was more than enough.
Dark Play, or Stories for Boys, by Carlos Murillo, directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques - Apollinaire Theatre. This amoral look at the sexual mores of the Internet was performed and paced to near perfection. Mark Vashro and Erez Rose played the alternately deceived and self-deceiving protagonists, at right.
Humble Boy, by Charlotte Jones, directed by Diego Arciniegas - Publick Theater. Jones may be too clearly an imitator of Stoppard - but what's wrong with that, particularly when she's doing better by the old boy than he seems to be able to do himself these days? Director Diego Arciniegas deftly guided a gifted cast through a pastiche of Hamlet, Alan Ayckbourn, and bee-keeping that never quite headed where you thought it was going to.
The Superheroine Monologues, by John Kuntz and Rick Park, directed by Greg Maraio - Phoenix Theatre Artists. Mix two parts loving satire to one part spandex, and you have this witty, original romp from two of the funniest guys on the theatre scene. There were, it's true, a few bumps in these superheroines' respective flights, but at their best they soared above the competition - the script was easily stronger than any of the new work developed and premiered by our larger theatres this year. And the costumes were to die for. I mean it. That's fellow blogger Art Hennessey and his main squeeze, the talented Amanda Hennessey, playing out their personal relationship onstage, at right.
But just so no one feels left out, I do have a few runner-up statuettes, to distribute to the other worthy productions of the season, which included:
Picnic, by William Inge - Stoneham Theatre; The Corn is Green, by Emlyn Williams - Huntington Theatre; A View of the Harbor, by Richard Dresser - Merrimack Repertory Theatre; Picasso at the Lapin Agile, by Steve Martin - New Repertory Theatre; Speech and Debate, by Stephen Karam - Lyric Stage.
Well, that's all for now; but coming soon: more Hubbies for actors, designers and directors.